Thursday, January 24, 2008

Adventures in Baking (Or, "My Failed Attempt at Domesticity")

I laugh at myself a lot.

Particularly yesterday.

See, I have some friends. Some wonderful friends whom I adore and admire. I attempted to imitate one of them.

This particular friend (We'll call her "Ivy") often takes it into her head to bake something from scratch for no particular reason. Sometimes it's just to do something nice for her husband (whom rumor has it adores dessert,) and sometimes it's just because she feels like it.

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of partaking in one of her delectable chocolate cupcakes, made from scratch from Ghiradelli cocoa. (It was divine. Heaven in a cupcake.) I also stood and watched her make icing from scratch. Perfection. Pure, unadulterated, perfection.

I love this friend so much I decided once again to copy her. (Ivy hon, I'm sorry. I just can't help it! You are my role model.)

I baked a cake.

I have not baked a cake in years. I'm the one who goes to the grocery store bakery and buys a cake there, and then only for special occasions.

While perusing my pantry for items needed to make dinner, I found a boxed cake mix. I have no idea why it was in there. (They must have been two for one or something like that. Hubby made a cake awhile back, so maybe that's where it came from.) So I decided that I would bake a cake. Just because I felt like it.

Mistake #1: Using the wrong bakeware.

I have a Pampered Chef stoneware baking dish. It's fantastic and I use it for all sorts of things. Lasagna, chicken, casseroles, pretty much for anything one would use a standard sized baking dish. When I attempted to remove the cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack, it made a big, gigantic mess. The stoneware is very porous, so even though I used cooking spray, the cake stuck. I tried to unstick it from the sides using a knife and that served to loosen it just enough for half of the cake to come tumbling out of the pan. I then proceeded to use a spatula to loosen the other half of the cake from the pan. It came out in crumbled bits.

(At least the crumbled bits of cake still tasted great!)

Mistake #2: Trying to make icing from scratch.

I phoned my dear friend Ivy and asked her to tell me how to make icing. She told me, I followed her directions precisely, and I ended up with a gooey, lumpy, drippy, mess.

(At least the gooey, lumpy, drippy mess still tasted great!)

I do not blame Ivy for this. I must have skipped an important step, or set the mixer to the wrong speed, or added the ingredients in the wrong order. (So maybe I didn't follow her directions precisely...) Or Perhaps Ivy assumed I knew a thing or two about baking, so she left out something obvious that anyone else who had ever baked a cake in their lives would know. (Have you ever played that game where you tell someone how to make a peanut butter sandwich? You say, "put the peanut butter on the bread" and the person picks up the jar of peanut butter, and sets the jar down on the whole loaf of bread? I need specifics here.) Again Ivy, not your fault, babe.

A few moments ago, I trashed the cake. I should have photographed it for you all to gawk and point fingers at, but I'm not quite that willing to undergo that kind of humiliation. You'll just have to use your imaginations.

Lessons learned?

Use a plain old baking dish.

Buy a tub of store-bought icing.

Or, just go to the grocery store bakery and buy a cake.


kelli said...

Pampered Chef fails me for baking too, and I used to sell the stuff. Trying to get a cake out of their bundt pan is the worst.

The sheet cake is not too bad if you use parchment paper, or if you frost it in the pan and just cut slices out.

At least it tasted good!

Damselfly said...

I am dying laughing!

Not at you or your baking, but at the way you tell your sad tale....

Freshly baked cake, mmm....

We should get together and bake sometime, or make homemade french fries or something!

Haley said...

LOL! You are always good for a laugh! At least you tried! :-)

Susan said...

Oh, girlfriend, I am SO THERE FOR YOU!! My friend Sandy can bake off the top of her head and creates some fantastic desserts. She tells me what to do's a flop. It's not my thing, and I'm OK with that.

By the way, we DO use our Pampered chef stoneware for cake and it works. Mine is very "seasoned" though...meaning it's pretty brown and very smooth. Yours may be too new to do it. I never grease mine either.



Beck said...

Oh sweetie.
Try this recipe:
You make it RIGHT in an 8" square cake pan. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top. Ta da! You are a baker!

Beck said...

Confectioner's sugar - the stuff that you make icing or frosting out of. Possibly known to you as powdered sugar.

Guinevere Meadow said...

Thanks Beck! I was confused about that. :)

Jessica said...

I am also not a made from scratch kind of girl. Even with directions I often screw it up! I'm a little upset there wasn't a picture of your masterpiece! ;-) I was really hoping to see it!

Brent O. said...

Ouch - baking is the absolute toughest form of cooking. I think it was Alton Brown who said that baking has more in common with chemistry than it does with the rest of cooking!

the dragonfly said...

Some things I love to make from scratch (pancakes, cornbread, apple pie)....but mostly, I'm a mix kind of girl. And this is usually because I suddenly decide "I want muffins!"...and a mix is much faster. :)

Amber said...

Let's start a support group. I just posted about my failed cinnamon rolls. :-)

Faerie Mom said...

Oh my. You are funny! I found you through the bloggy giveaways and now you are bookmarked! Yay!

Oh yeah... TJ Maxx

Faerie Mom said...

Who knows what I meant with that one. I was very tired! Too much following links and silliness... but I found you and now you are stuck with me! Silly comments and all! Mwuah hah hah hah

Thanks for stopping by and entering the contest!